Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns *****

Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. 2007.

While this book is somewhat advanced, I wanted to mention it here because it was superb. This is the author of The Kite Runner which was awesome. I didn't think he could top that one, but he did manage to do just that with this book.

Hosseini follows three decades of upheaval in Afghanistan. Unlike the characters in The Kite Runner, these characters don't leave Afghanistan, so they are there to see all of the turmoil that went on there for decades. The main character is Mariam, who is the illegitimate daughter of a rich man. He eventually marries her off to an older man when she is only in her teens. Rasheed is old and mean. After she is unable to produce an heir for him, he becomes even meaner. Then, he takes another wife.

Laila is that wife. She is alone and scared. Her parents have died from a bomb. The love of her life has left for Pakistan. Mariam and Rasheed, who had been her neighbors, take her in and nurse her back to health. When she finds out Tariq is dead, she agrees to marry Rasheed because she realizes she has nowhere else to go.

As time wears on, things continue to get worse as the Taliban takes over the entire country. Rasheed becomes even meaner, particularly now that the Taliban has stripped women of all of their power.

I highly recommend this book to advanced readers. This was a gripping novel and readers will not be disappointed.

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